ProRally: Maine Forest race report

Rumford, Maine: The SCCA Maine Forest ProRally came to an exciting and controversial conclusion in the streets of downtown Rumford, with the top 10 filled with manufacturer championship cars from across North America. Paul Choiniere, the...

Rumford, Maine: The SCCA Maine Forest ProRally came to an exciting and controversial conclusion in the streets of downtown Rumford, with the top 10 filled with manufacturer championship cars from across North America. Paul Choiniere, the 7-time SCCA Overall Champion, swapped the lead with teammate Noel Lawler early in the day, and drove his Tiburon to the closest finish of the season, with a margin of only 12 seconds over Canadian Championship points leader Tom McGeer. Visiting the SCCA ProRally Championship Series for the first time in three years, McGeer was always in the hunt, and, based on stage times, would have earned Subaru its first podium finish of the season. Noel Lawler, running on 3 cylinders for most of the day, and using his lead advantage from Leg One, held onto his place on the podium, 1 minute and 48 seconds behind McGeer. Key Notes:
* The controversy over the finish positions centers around the McGeer entry, which was protested by a team outside of the original top three for an illegal service infraction. As this release went to press, the matter had been sent to SCCA National appeals court, but the Official Results will show the top three as Choinere,Lawler and Scheible.
* The weather continued to throw challenges to all the entrants, with continuous changes from dry to torrential downpours throughout the day. The occasional hard rains turned some of the stages into quagmires or, as was the case in yesterdays brutal SS3, rocky, tire and suspension abusing torture tracks as the dirt normally covering the rocks was washed away. The tire puncture count on Friday alone was at least 35, with the number continuing to climb today. Seeing crewmembers searching for spares was commonplace as teams ran out of their own supplies.
* After yesterday's brilliant run, it looked like Noel Lawler's dismal season had finally come to an end. The morning stages started well enough, but his Open class Tiburon developed engine problems during SS6, finally losing a cylinder on the way to the lunch-time service. With team orders to continue, the crew deactivated the fuel injector to the affected cylinder, the defending National Champion soldiered on, ultimately earning a crucial championship points earning 3rd place.
* Hyundai's #967 Production Class entry with veteran actor but first-time performance rally pilot Perry King came to an abrupt end about half-way through SS6, when he wedged his Tiburon between two trees, puncturing the radiator in the process. Actual body damage to the car is minimal, and the Driver and Co-Driver are fine, but the loss of coolant ended their day.
* Close battles were the order of the day in several classes, with Group 5 and Production classes being particularly hard fought. Mark Utecht, in what is already being regarded as the drive of his career, placed his time honored Dodge Omni in the top 10, with a significant 2.5 minute David and Goliath style victory over Ralph Kosmides in his 1998 Championship winning Toyota Supra Turbo. Kosmides, also in a death-match with longtime nemesis Rick Davis and his BMW M3 powered 318 compact, capturing 2nd place in Group 5 by less than 12 seconds.
* A 9 second Production class margin of victory between ultimate winner Ted and Lise Mendham and challenger Dennis and Claire Chizma was due in part to some Good Samaritan work by the Chizmas, who used their restored vintage 1973 Porsche 911 to tug fellow Californian Jay Streets out of a ditch in SS9. Said Claire "There's a reason why we run in the SCCA - it's the people - we know any number of entrants that would do, and have done, the same for us, anywhere in the country."
* With strong finishes by all the manufacturers, Hyundai's slim points lead over Mitsubishi is reduced from a mere 7 points to just 5; while Mitsubishi's lead of 3 points over Subaru grows to 6 - maintaining a virtual 3-way tie heading into the final four events of the season. Should the results appeal be approved, Mitsubishi's lead over Subaru would be reduced to just 1 point.

Official Finishing Order <pre> start Finish Car# Seed Class Driver Co-driver year Car Time (Hr:Mn.sec) 2 1 2 FIA Open Paul Choiniere Jeff Becker 00 Hyundai Tiburon 1:27:52 1 2 1 FIA Open Noel Lawler Charles Bradley 00 Hyundai Tiburon 1:29:51 9 3 61 1 FIA-N Karl Scheible Russ Hughes 98 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V 1:31:31 4 4 4 1 Open Garen Shrader Michael Fennell 97 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI 1:31:34 7 5 52 1 Open Doug Shepherd Ralph Beckman 00 Hyundai Elantra 1:32:12 20 6 115 2 FIA-N Seamus Burke Frank Cunningham 98 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI 1:32:50 10 7 6 1 FIA-N Henry Krolikowski Cindy Krolikowski 95 Subaru WRX Sti 1:34:02 26 8 83 2 Gr 5 Mark Utecht Brenda Corneliusen 86 Dodge Omni turbo 1:35:32 40 9 73 3 Gr 2 Nicholas Robinson Carl Lindquist 97 Honda Civic 1:36:28 22 10 168 2 PGT Celsus Donnelly Paul Donnelly 90 Eagle Talon Tsi 1:36:29 62 11 971 5 PGT Brendan Cunningham Paul McClean 90 Eagle Talon Tsi 1:37:38 6 12 179 1 Open Tom McGeer Mark Williams 96 Subaru Impreza WRX 1:38:04 13 13 142 1 Gr 5 Jon Nichols Mike Koch 95 VW Golf Gti 1:38:13 12 14 5 1 Gr 5 Ralph Kosmides Ken Cassidy 96 Toyota Supra 1:38:23 46 15 398 4 Open Kurosh Jahromi Tony Lumino 89 Ford Escort Cosworth 1:38:34 28 16 945 2 Gr 5 Rick Davis Marc Goldfarb 95 BMW 318 Compact 1:38:35 58 17 981 5 Open Paul Tingaud Ian Forgays 86 Audi 4000 quattro 1:40:02 50 18 992 4 PGT Bruce Perry Phillip Barnes 90 Eagle Talon 1:40:40 48 19 565 4 FIA-N Russell Hodges Jimmy Brandt 95 Subaru Impreza WRX 1:41:03 54 20 199 5 Gr 2 Michael White Michael Ronan 80 SAAB 99 GLI 1:43:14 61 21 97 5 PGT Paul Dubinsky Yvon Dubinsky 92 Eagle Talon 1:43:42 43 22 76 4 P Ted Mendham Lise Mendham 91 Nissan Sentra 1:44:08 55 23 165 4 P Dennis Chizma Claire Chizma 73 Porsche 911 1:44:17 35 24 29 3 Open Dean Fry Greg Usavage 90 Subaru Legacy 1:45:04 36 25 27 3 PGT Greg Healey John McCleod 97 Subaru Impreza 1:46:19

Confirmed Leg One Retirements (partial listing) Car # Drivers Name Co-Drivers Name Class Year Make stage Retirement cause (unofficial) 162 Patrick Richard Ben Bradley GT 98 Subaru N/A transmission 937 Patrick Farrell Shane McAleer Open 91 Mitsubishi SS2 Turbo 965 Oliver Muldoon Damian McAleer GT 91 Eagle SS2 Head Gasket 379 Jonathan Ryther Nick Taylor Open 00 Subaru SS2 Accident 8 Frank Sprongl Dan Sprongl Open 93 Ford SS2 Radiator 180 Chris Havas Eric Tremblay Gr 2 95 VW SS2 Halfshaft 12 Steve Gingras Bill Westrick GT 91 Eagle SS3 Transmission 8 Lauchlin O'Sullivan Paula Gibeault GT 94 Mitsubishi SS3 Accident 110 Mark Nelson John Dillon FIA-N 97 Mitsubishi SS3 Suspension 575 Jeremy Butts Kurt Winkelmann Gr5 88 Ford SS4 Oil pressure 951 Jose Vicente Eduardo Besada Open 88 VW SS4 Fuel 901 Gerry Brinkman Wil Sekella Open 87 Audi SS4 Tire puncture 946 Fergal Shovelin Naomi Darcy P 87 Toyota SS4 Accident 2Gr 5 Confirmed Leg Two Retirements (partial listing) Car # Drivers Name Co-Drivers Name Class Year Make stage Retirement cause (unofficial) 175 Alex Erisoty Ben Greisler Open 89 Audi DNS Transmission 3 John Kemp Gail McGuire Open 84 Audi DNS Engine 99 Sakis Hadjiminas Brian Maxwell Open 85 Subaru DNS unknown 188 Andrew Havas Malcom Swann G5 79 Mazda SS5 Engine 71 Bryan Hourt Tom Tighe G5 97 Honda SS8 Electrical, fuel pump 20 George Plsek Renn Phillips Open 90 Audi SS Mechanical 975 Heikki Salmen Const. Mantopoulos Gr 5 96 MB SS8 Accident 967 Perry King Bob Martin P 00 Hyundai SS6 Accident, Radiator 913 Janus Jastrzebski Kazimierz Pudelek GT 95 Subaru SS8 mechanical </pre> The SCCA name and logo is a registered trademark of the Sports Car Club of America, Inc. ProRally, ClubRally and RallyCross are service marks of the SCCA.

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Series SCCA
Drivers Paul Choiniere , Jeff Becker , George Plsek , Ralph Kosmides , Jay Streets , Mark Nelson , Seamus Burke , Frank Cunningham , Ken Cassidy , Bruce Perry , Rob Nicholas , Frank Sprongl , Jon Nichols , Tom McGeer , Patrick Richard , Marc Goldfarb , Mark Williams , Brian Maxwell , Lise Mendham , Jimmy Brandt , Greg Healey
Teams Williams